Parents of Samuel Boon, 17, attack World Challenge after son dies in Moroccan heat
PUBLISHED: 08:35 14 January 2014 | UPDATED: 08:36 14 January 2014
The heart-broken parents of a teenager who died in sweltering heat on a trek in Morocco have launched a stinging attack on the company which organised the trip.
Ken Boon, father of 17-year-old Samuel, who studied at The Business Academy Bexley, in Thamesmead, said they would never have allowed him to go on the trip in July 2012 if they had known about the reality of the arrangements for emergency care put in place by schools expedition company World Challenge.
“If we had known that in an emergency there would have been no helicopter, no ambulance, no medic, in fact the best emergency response available was a mini-bus with no medical assistance, we would never have allowed Sam to go,” Mr Boon said after the conclusion of an inquest into his son’s death held in Bromley last week.
His remarks were made after assistant coroner for south London Selena Lynch returned a conclusion of misadventure into the death of the 6ft 2ins teenager, who weighed 20 stone.
The inquest heard he collapsed on July 17 that year while trekking in the foothills of the High Atlas mountains in temperatures of 39C during a school trip to the region.
A local guide was asked to get an ambulance but over an hour later a mini-bus arrived at the nearby road to transport the teenager to a local medical facility, the inquest was told.
Mrs Lynch said the cause of death was either exertional heatstroke and/or hyponatremia - a condition where salt levels are reduced in the blood - caused by excessive intake and/or retention of water.
Matt Eastlake, managing director of World Challenge said: “Samuel Boon’s death was an absolute tragedy and our deepest sympathies remain with his family and friends.
“World Challenge’s highest priority is the safety of its participants and as the coroner noted, we have introduced a number of new measures since Samuel’s death, especially in terms of monitoring participant fitness.
“We will take time to reflect on the Coroner’s findings and give serious consideration to any change or development where we feel appropriate which will improve safety further.”